June 8, 1980: the $10,000 Horseshoe


Six horses challenged Spectacular Bid in the Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 8, 1980. As expected, Spectacular Bid was assigned the highest weight—130 pounds.       

At about 7:30 that morning, trainer Bud Delp sent Bid to the track to get in his morning jog. Toward the end of the jog, Bid’s hind foot nicked the right front hoof, knocking the shoe off.

Delp called his farrier, Jack Reynolds, who lived in Detroit, and Reynolds said he would catch the next plane to Los Angeles. A few minutes later, Delp’s phone rang; it was Reynolds. The last plane of the day to Los Angeles had just left Detroit.

The race to Hollywood Park

Tom Meyerhoff responded and chartered a Learjet in Chicago, which picked up the farrier in Detroit and began the flight to Los Angeles.

However, high winds in Denver had grounded all planes. Once the jet was cleared for takeoff, Delp arranged the Inglewood, California, chief of police to meet Reynolds at the airport and escort him to the track. But time was running out, and Delp had to find another farrier to put the shoe on.

On the way to the post, Delp felt a hand on his shoulder; it was Jack Reynolds. Tom Meyerhoff called the incident the $10,000 horseshoe, based on the cost of the Learjet.

The Race

Bid was ready to race. Getting off to a good start for a change, he stalked the leaders, Bolger and Replant, down the backstretch, and then entering the far turn, he turned on the gas and easily passed the leaders. By the middle of the far turn, he had the lead and then some; by the homestretch, he was six lengths ahead of Paint King.

Jockey Bill Shoemaker just sat on Bid, not asking for any speed, and Bid’s final margin of victory was four and one-fourth lengths over Paint King. Caro Bambino finished third, another three and one-fourths lengths back. His time for the 1 1/8 mile race: 1:45 4/5.

After the race, Shoemaker, who had ridden Swaps, Kelso, Round Table, Buckpasser, Damascus and Forego  proclaimed Bid “the best horse I’ve ever ridden.”

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